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10 Tips to Enhance Your Resume

help in a resume

Resumes are an important tool in any job search, and they can make or break you as a candidate. This may seem like a lot of pressure, but getting the right format for a resume is easier than it seems at first. Use this advice to make your resume better than it’s ever been before.

Use Concrete Success Measurements

Don’t just say that you did something; give some stats that show how much you succeeded. The right way to do this will vary depending on your career. If you’re in sales, for example, you can say “negotiated $10.2 million in contracts” rather than just saying “negotiated numerous important contracts.”

help in a resume

Show, Don’t Tell

Don’t use subjective statements like “great communicator.” Instead, give examples of why that’s true. You can say something like “counseled patients from a variety of different backgrounds” or something similar to show how you use your skills.

help in a resume

Keep It Short

Resumes aren’t places for complete sentences. Make all your descriptions short and to the point so the reader can scan through and get a good idea of what you’ve done. Use the smallest number of words possible to make your point.

help in a resume

Format It Right

It’s a good idea to structure your resume in discrete sections and use bullet points or other formatting tricks to keep it organized. The goal is, again, to make it scannable and do the hiring manager a favor by avoiding taking up too much time.

help in a resume

Work From the Job Description

It’s essential to tailor your resume for each individual job description. You’ll want to emphasize different aspects of your skill set and experience based on what each individual employer is asking for.

help in a resume

Include the Right Keywords

As part of working from the job description, include some of the language used in the job description. Keywords, especially those used to describe specific qualifications and job responsibilities, are often the first step in screening resumes. Whether it’s a computer or a person doing the screening, they’ll probably do a quick search to see if you’ve included the right keywords.

help in a resume

Put Education in Its Proper Place

How important is your education to the position you’re applying for? If the employer specifically asks that applicants have a specific type of degree, you should emphasize that more than less-relevant information, like an objective statement or skills the job post didn’t ask for. If education isn’t mentioned in the post at all, you may want to leave it out so you can have space to include more relevant information.

help in a resume

Use Creativity Judiciously

Your resume can be more than just a list of what you can do; it can also show off how well you understand the industry. If you’re applying for a job at a buttoned-up law firm, keep your fonts and formatting simple and clean. If you’re applying for a job at a fun tech startup, you can get a little more creative with colors and graphics, but don’t waste space with this formatting.

help in a resume

Optimize for Mobile

A one-column design can make it easier for prospective managers to read your resume on their cellphones. You never know how and when they’re going to look at it, so it makes sense to make your resume as readable on different devices as possible.

help in a resume

You don’t need to include every single job you’ve ever had on your resume. Only include what’s most relevant for where you are right now. If you’re concerned that doing this will make it look like you have employment gaps, you can use a header like “selected experience” or “relevant experience” to clarify.

help in a resume

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The importance of an outstanding resume

How to write a resume, fine-tuning your resume, make your resume stand out, it all starts with your resume.

Looking for a job is like a rollercoaster. 

There are high and low points throughout the process. The unknown of new opportunities excites you, but you feel vulnerable and anxious at the same time. Everyone experiences that turbulence at some point in their job search . 

Writing a resume is one of the first steps in that journey, and it’s one of the most overwhelming. You want to make a good first impression — which might leave you second-guessing every last action verb and skill you choose to include. Tools like resume builders and ChatGPT can help you brainstorm a first draft, but it’s up to you to perfect it.

Learning how to make your resume stand out may feel like a science, but there are rules and guidelines you can follow to convince a hiring manager that you're the best choice for the role. 

Within a single sheet of paper is the story of your career. Your work history, accomplishments, and skill set weave together an account of your potential as an employee. And on a job application, your resume should grab a hiring manager’s attention based on the story you tell . 

On average, potential employers spend just 7.4 seconds reviewing a resume. While that may sound like an impossibly short amount of time to judge a candidate, it's often necessary. Some positions draw hundreds of applicants pining for their next job. Hiring managers have to quickly go down a new hire checklist to ensure you have the technical skills or experience necessary to perform the job. 

During this time, hiring managers and recruiters also need to filter out mismatched candidates before reaching out for interviews. They’re looking for someone genuinely interested in the new job — someone motivated enough to show how passionate and qualified they are. And if a hiring manager uses an applicant tracking system, they’ll also filter resumes based on keywords and specific skills. You need to survive both the algorithm and their keen eye. 

Aligning your most relevant qualifications and tuning your language to fit a company's vernacular is a lot of work, but it’s worth it. Effective resume writing targets the job description, and a one-size-fits-all resume can’t do that. The extra effort you spend personalizing every application could put you one step closer to landing your dream position and ending the job search. 

The blank page is daunting to look at. But great resumes start with headings and sections, and starting with an outline helps you fill the page faster. 

Here are the sections you should include:

1. Work experience

Arguably the most crucial section, clearly label your work experience with separate points for every job entry. If you can, only include jobs that highlight your suitability for the role. 

But don't be afraid to include experience that isn’t obviously relevant. While a career change from product engineer to project manager may seem unrelated in technical skills, you can show off the value of transferable soft skills . The key is to include a description or bullet points that make the connection clear.

Each entry should include the following:

Your job title

Name of the organization

Dates of employment

A short description of your accomplishments

Many job seekers opt to organize this section in chronological order from most to least recent. This is likely the best option if your career and skill learning has a clear linear trajectory. 

But sometimes, it makes more sense to put your most relevant experience at the top, even if it's not your most recent job. This is sometimes known as a functional resume . You want your reader to see your best work first. A new parent who quit a full-time job for a part-time job with less hours may want to focus on career highlights rather than recent positions. 

It also might make sense to split your resume into sections for different skills. If you're applying for a management position at a software development company, you might want to have subsections that emphasize management experience and development experience separately. This helps a hiring manager quickly gauge your full potential. 

2. Unpaid work or volunteering 

This section is similar to your work experience but only covers unpaid positions. Follow the same format, instead with volunteer or personal projects relevant to the role or that helped sharpen your skills. This could also include internships. Remember to also include descriptions here so hiring managers clearly see why you chose to include every point.

Volunteer-Builder-Drilling-Into-Roof-1

3. Education

This section will likely be the smallest. List any relevant degrees — associate, bachelor’s, master’s , and even PhDs — in order from most to least recent. Here's what to write:

Name of educational institution

Name of your program or degree

Date of graduation (if you feel comfortable putting this information)

Extra details like Latin honors or GPA (if relevant)

4. Certifications

You may have professional certifications relevant to your role. List them here with the date you acquired them. This is an especially important section if the job you’re applying for requires certification or licensure, legally or otherwise.

If you’re applying for a role that requires something like a driver’s license or certification in a programming language, be sure to highlight it. But non-required certifications fit here as well, like those from online courses. These demonstrate essential soft skills such as self-motivation and initiative .

A summary statement typically goes at the top of your resume, though it usually isn’t recommended. A vague summary or objective statement wastes space. Employers likely don’t want to hear that you’re a “Motivated employee looking to learn new skills” because that doesn’t say much about you. 

If you decide to include a summary, be specific. And if everything you’re saying appears later in your resume, it might be best to omit it entirely. Save this statement for your LinkedIn summary .

List soft skills and technical skills that are relevant to the role. Reinforce each one with practical work experience, metrics, or engaging action verbs that tell a more complete story. The less guesswork a hiring manager has to do, the easier it is to identify the strength of your candidacy. 

This is your space to be as specific as possible. Instead of writing that you have “good communication skills ,” write “thoughtful communicator who uses active listening and empathy to construct strong interpersonal relationships ." And instead of writing “coding,” specify what languages you know and how you’ve used them. You can also emphasize self-directed learning experiences to show your initiative.

7. Link to portfolio

If possible, link to some of your representative work, or at least have a sample 

If relevant, link to some of your representative work or have a portfolio with sample projects ready in case the hiring manager asks for them. In some fields, especially creative, a digital portfolio is standard, so include a link to yours if possible. 

Recruiters and hiring managers may also check your LinkedIn profile and domain-specific profiles, like GitHub, for concrete examples of successful projects. Ensure your resume is consistent with your body of work across all professional platforms.

Businesspeople-Editing-Document-1

An effective resume leads a hiring manager's eye to all the right places. Here are three tips for submitting an accurate and concise document: 

1. Include only relevant information

Whether you're a seasoned professional or a recent graduate, including every single piece of professional experience is unnecessary. All of the metrics, skills, and certifications should reflect the specific job you're applying to. Unessential information confuses and distracts potential employers from your value to the role. 

Recent graduates with little practical experience can find ways to highlight relevant transferable skills without filling the page with unnecessary jobs. If you're a recent economics graduate , your job sorting books at the university library shouldn't eclipse valuable internships or coursework — unless that job taught you something about economics. 

2. Highlights accomplishments, not responsibilities 

Managers want to know you can perform. Listing your personal achievements rather than roles and responsibilities shows not only what duties previous positions included, but that you thrived while completing them. Use action verbs or list employee reco gnitions to place the focus on your performance. 

Imagine you previously worked at a public relations firm. Compare these two descriptions:

“I was responsible for the execution of clients’ national media campaigns.” 

“I spearheaded successful national digital media campaigns for clients of varied industries, improving organic engagement by 50%.”

The former tells the recruiter about your job, but the latter tells them about you. The specificity helps readers immediately understand why you were an asset.

3. Keep it short

Like any professional communication, your resume should be short and to the point. It should have clear formatting that guides the eye from one section to another. 

Ideally, you'll fit everything you need on one page. The document may stretch to two pages if you're further along in your career or need to submit a CV instead of a resume . Just make sure everything on those two pages is relevant. Extraneous work history might distract rather than impress. 

Woman-Typing-On-Laptop-1

Now that you know the basics, here’s how to write the best version of your resume:

1. Consider the hiring manager’s needs

Read the job description closely and explore the company website. Get a sense of company culture by reading its mission statement or company core values . Then, include those elements on your resume to catch a hiring manager's attention and tell them you fit the culture . 

Remember, you aren’t just applying for a job. You’re applying to become part of a team. Show exactly how you’ll add to company culture and collaborate with existing employees. If a company's job ad mentions seeking team players , make sure your resume highlights your history of successful collaboration. 

2. Make sure it looks good

Hiring managers review countless resumes each day. You have some freedom to play with your resume format, but you should follow some general guidelines so it’s easy to read:

Use an appropriate font: Cursive fonts and Wingdings have no place on a professional resume. Consider professional-looking typefaces like Helvetica, Arial, or Times New Roman.

Be consistent: When you pick a design format, you commit to a set of "rules" for your resume. Make sure your bullet points follow the same style, the sizing of your  headers is consistent, and your lines have equal spacing. 

Don't overcrowd it: Leave enough room in the margins so your resume doesn’t fill the entire page. White space helps your reader find necessary information quickly. 

Use a resume builder : There are many free resume builders and templates available online . Your word processor might even have some built-in. Consider using one so you don't start from scratch.

Consider color when appropriate: Adding some colored text or icons helps your resume stand out. Just make sure it’s appropriate for the industry you work in. Illustrators can use a creative resume to show off their artistic skills, whereas a colorful document for a public policy analyst could demonstrate a lack of sincerity. 

Woman-With-Laptop-In-Office-1

3. Proofread for errors

Hiring managers might decide not to hire you from as few as five writing errors . Typos and grammar mistakes show carelessness and poor attention to detail , and they’re an easy way to get a job rejection . 

Make sure to check your writing closely. Apps like Grammarly ensure every comma and apostrophe is in the right place. And reading your resume out loud, to yourself or to a friend, helps you catch errors, improve flow, and check for repetitive language.

4. Demonstrate industry knowledge

Always be learning . Intellectual curiosity and commitment to growth are personality traits many hiring managers look for, whether you're new to the workforce or a seasoned employee. It shows employers that you're proactive, engaged, and open to new experiences. 

Now make sure that growth mindset comes through in your resume. It isn't about saying “I love to learn,” but showing it.

Stay on top of current trends in your field and work them into your cover letter and resume. If there's a new programming tool in high demand, share your know-how in the skills section. Describe how you used it to improve your performance at a previous job.

5. Get an objective eye

Ask someone else to look over your resume and give you honest feedback . Seek out people who you trust to give constructive criticism rather than tell you what you want to hear. Coworkers, colleagues, or anyone you feel comfortable turning to for career advice will likely offer the perspective you need to write your best resume . 

Also consider hiring a professional resume writer or career coach . Both offer valuable insights about industry expectations and effective techniques for leveraging your best skills and experiences. 

Now that you know how to make your resume stand out, you can emphasize the right details and grab hiring managers’ attention. 

Writing the perfect resume takes time, thoroughness, and careful editing. And while it may feel daunting, following common resume rules and paying close attention to the job description puts you one step closer to your dream job. 

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Elizabeth perry.

Content Marketing Manager, ACC

Resume best practices: how far back should a resume go?

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How to Make a Resume in 2023 | Beginner's Guide

Background Image

For most job-seekers, a good resume is what stands between a dream job and Choice D. Get your resume right, and you’ll be getting replies from every other company you apply to.

If your resume game is weak, though, you’ll end up sitting around for weeks, maybe even months, before you even get a single response.

So you’re probably wondering how you can write a resume that leads to HR managers inviting you to interviews daily.

Well, you’ve come to the right place!

In this guide, we’re going to teach you everything you need to know about how to make a resume, including:

  • Pick the Right Resume Format & Layout
  • Mention Your Personal Details & Contact Information
  • Use a Resume Summary or Objective
  • List Your Work Experience & Achievements
  • Mention Your Top Soft & Hard Skills
  • Include Additional Resume Sections (Languages, Hobbies, etc.)
  • Tailor Your Information For the Job Ad
  • Craft a Convincing Cover Letter
  • Proofread Your Resume and Cover Letter

So, let’s dive right in!

New to resume-making? Give our resumes 101 video a watch before diving into the article!

How to Make a Resume (The Right Way!)

Before we go into detail about how you should make a resume, here’s a summary of the most important steps and tips to keep in mind: 

how to write a resume

  • Choose a resume format carefully. In 99% of the cases, we recommend the chronological format. 
  • Add the right contact details. Leave your headshot out and make sure to include your job title , a professional email address, and relevant links (e.g. your LinkedIn profile, online portfolio, website, etc.). 
  • Write an impactful resume summary. Unless you’re an entry-level professional, always go for a resume summary (also known as a career summary). Done right, it’s your chance to get hiring managers to go through the rest of your resume in detail. 
  • Pay attention to your work experience section. Take your work experience section from OK-ish to exceptional by tailoring it to the job ad, making your achievements quantifiable, and using action verbs and power words. 
  • Add the right skills for the job. Keep this important section relevant by only including soft and hard skills that are required for the position. Deeper into the article, we’ll show you just how to do that!  
  • Keep your education short and to the point. Your most recent and highest degree is more than enough for a strong education section. We recommend making a more detailed education section only if you’re a recent graduate with barely any work experience. 
  • Take advantage of optional resume sections . Optional sections like languages, hobbies, certifications, independent projects, and the sorts, can be what sets you apart from other candidates with similar skills and experience.
  • Don’t forget about the cover letter. Cover letters do matter in 2023 so you should definitely include one. To make the most out of your cover letter, check out this detailed guide on how to write a cover letter .

To get the most out of our tips, you can head over to the resume builder and start building your resume on the go as you read this guide.

#1. Pick the Right Resume Format

Before you start filling in your resume, you’ve got to make sure it will look good. 

After all, recruiters first notice how your resume looks, rather than what it contains. So, this is your best chance to make a great first impression. 

This includes picking the right resume format and doing the layout . 

So, first things first - how should you format your resume? 

There are three types of resume formats out there:

  • Reverse chronological resume format. This is the most popular resume format among recruiters and, as such, the right format for most job-seekers. 
  • Functional resume format . This format focuses more on skills rather than work experience and is useful if you’re just getting started with your career and have little-to-no experience in the field.
  • Combination resume format . The combination resume is a great choice for experienced job-seekers with a very diverse skill set. It’s useful if you’re applying for a role that requires expertise in 3-4 different fields and you want to show all that in your resume. Say, for example, you’re applying for a senior management role, and the requirements are expertise in Management, Sales, and Software Development.

So, which one do you go for?

As we already mentioned, in 99% of cases, you’d want to stick to the reverse-chronological resume format . It’s the most popular format, and most HR managers are used to it. Hence, in this guide, we’re going to focus on teaching you how to make a reverse-chronological resume.

reverse chronological resume

Fix Your Resume Layout

With formatting out of the way, let’s discuss your resume’s layout . After all, the layout is the first thing a job recruiter notices about your resume. 

Does it look organized or cluttered? Is it too short or too long? Is it boring and easy to ignore, or is it reader-friendly and attention-grabbing?

Here are some of the best practices when it comes to your resume layout:

  • One page in length . You should only go for 2 pages if you really , really believe that it’ll add significant value. HR managers in big firms get around 1,000+ resumes per month. They’re not going to spend their valuable time reading your life story!
  • Clear section headings. Pick a heading (H2, for example) and use it for all the section headers.
  • Ample white space , especially around the margins. Without the right amount of white space, your resume will end up looking overcrowded with information
  • Easy-to-read font. We’d recommend sticking to what stands out, but not too much. Do: Ubuntu, Roboto, Overpass, etc. Don’t ( ever ): Comic Sans
  • Readable font size . As a rule of thumb, go for 11-12 pt for normal text and 14-16 pt for section titles.
  • PDF file type. Always save your resume as a PDF file. Although Word is a popular alternative , it has a good chance of messing up your resume formatting.

One more thing you need to consider in terms of resume layout is whether you’re going for a traditional-looking resume template or something a bit more modern :

traditional vs modern resume

If you’re pursuing a career in a more traditional industry - legal , banking , finance , etc. - you might want to stick to the first. 

If you’re applying to a tech company, though, where imagination and innovation are valued, you can go for a more creative template .

Want to Save Time? Use a (Free) Resume Template

Anyone who’s ever tried creating a resume from scratch knows how boring the formatting can be.

Before you can even start filling in the contents, you need to tweak the margins, adjust font sizes, make sure everything fits into one page WHILE also looking good, and so on.

Want to skip past that AND create a very compelling resume?

Try one of our free resume templates. They’re pre-formatted, so all you have to do is fill in the contents. 

They’re also created in collaboration with recruiters from around the globe, ensuring that the templates are visually appealing and ATS-friendly!

See for yourself how it compares to a resume created in a text editor: 

novoresume vs text editor

#2. Add Your Contact Information

Now that we’ve got all the formatting out of the way, let’s talk about what’s really important: your resume content .

The first thing you want to do when filling out the contents of your resume is to add your contact information .

This is a straightforward, yet critical section.

Even if you get everything else right, you’re not going to go far if the HR manager can’t get in touch with you because you misspelled your email, right?

So, double-check, and even triple-check your contact information section and make sure everything is correct and up-to-date. 

Must-have Information

  • First Name / Last Name. 
  • Phone Number. 
  • Email Address. 
  • Location - are you located in the area, or will the company have to sponsor relocation?‎

Optional Information

  • Profesional Title - Your professional title. It can be your position, word-for-word, or your desired job. Think “Digital Marketing Specialist” or “Junior Data Scientist.”
  • LinkedIn URL - If you have an up-to-date profile that can add value to your application, make sure to include the link.
  • Relevant Social Media - Do you have a published portfolio online? For developers, this would be your GitHub, for a designer Behance or Dribble. For a writer, it could be your personal blog.
  • Website / Blog - Do you have an online presence? Maybe a blog that positions you as an expert in your field? If you do, make sure to mention it!
  • Date of Birth (unless specifically required in the job ad) - The HR manager doesn’t need to know how old you are. It’s not important for their decision-making, and at worst, it might lead to discrimination based on age.
  • Unprofessional Email Address - Do: [email protected] Don’t: [email protected]
  • Headshot in USA, UK or Ireland. Consider including one in Europe & Asia, but always check the regulations for each specific country or industry. 

All clear? Good! Now, let’s examine what a successful example of the contact section looks like:

professional resume contact section

#3. Write a Resume Headline (Summary or Objective)

It's no secret that recruiters spend less than ten seconds on a resume on average.

When you receive hundreds, if not thousands, of applications daily, it's physically impossible to spend too much time on each. 

So, in order for the hiring manager to go through the resumes effectively (without spending an entire day), they scan through the resume real quick, and if it catches their interest, they get into it in more detail.

And the first thing that the hiring manager looks at is the resume headline .

Depending on your professional standing, a resume headline can be either a resume summary or a resume objective . 

Both are placed at the top of your resume, right below or next to the contact information section. For example:

resume summary professional

Now, you might be wondering whether you should use a resume summary or an objective, and how to write one effectively.

Well, that brings us to our next section:

What’s a Resume Summary & When to Use it

A resume summary is a 2-3 sentence summary of your career. You should use a resume summary in basically any situation, unless you’re a recent university graduate or switching careers (in that case, you use a resume objective. More on that later!).

In your resume summary, you need to mention:

  • Your job and years of experience. E.g.: Customer support representative with 5+ years of experience in the IT industry.
  • 1 or 2 top achievements (or core responsibilities). E.g.: Specialized in technical support, customer care, and user retention.
  • Desired goal (generally, passion for working at a specific company). E.g.: Looking for new opportunities as a support lead for a SaaS company. 

Here’s an example of a well-written resume summary: 

resume summary

What’s a Resume Objective & When to Use it

A resume objective is, in a nutshell, the goal of your resume. It communicates your motivation for getting into a new field. As with a resume summary, a resume objective should be around 2-3 sentences. 

As we’ve mentioned before, a resume objective is the go-to for anyone who either has no work experience or is going through a career change .

So, here’s what that would look like if you’re a student :

  • Hard-working recent graduate with a B.A. in Graphic Design from New York State University seeking new opportunities. 3+ years of practical experience working with Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, creating illustrations & designing UX / UI. Looking to grow as a designer, as well as perfect my art, at the XYZ Design Studio.

Or, on the other hand, if you’re going through a career change:

  • IT project manager with 5+ years of experience in software development. Managed a team of developers to create products for several industries, such as FinTech and HR tech. Looking to leverage my experience in managing outsourced products as a Product Owner at XYZ.

#4. Prioritize Your Work Experience

The most important part of your resume is your work experience.

This is where you really get to sell yourself, displaying your past accomplishments and responsibilities.

If you manage to master this section alone, you’ll know 80%+ of all there is to know about how to make a resume.

There are plenty of best practices for writing your work experience. Before we dive into all the nits and grits, though, let’s start with the basics...

How to List Work Experience in a Resume

The standard format for your work experience is as follows:

  • Job Title/Position - Your job title goes on top of each work experience entry. When the HR manager scans your resume, you want them to know, at a glance, that you have relevant work experience for the job.
  • Company Name / Location / Description - Then, you mention the name of the relevant employer, as well as the location of the office you work/have worked in. In some cases, you may also want to briefly describe the company, if the organization is not a famous household name.
  • Dates Employed - The timeframe of your employment in each company. Not sure about the exact dates you worked somewhere? Don’t worry - you don’t have to be accurate by the day, as long as it’s close. The standard format expected by recruiters and employers is mm/yyyy (this is especially important when your job application will be parsed by an Applicant Tracking System).
  • Achievements and Responsibilities - This is the core of each work experience entry. Depending on your field, you want to list either your achievements or responsibilities. We’ll get more into the hows and whys of this in a bit.

Here’s a real-life example:

how to list work experience on a resume

As you can see, the work experience listings should be mentioned in reverse-chronological order - starting with the most recent job and going all the way back into the past.

Now that you know how to list your experience, we’re going to talk about how to write about your experience in such a way that you stand out from the competition.

Are you a student with no work experience? We’ve got you covered. Check out our guide to writing a resume with no experience here.

List Achievements When Possible

One of the most common resume mistakes is listing only responsibilities in your work experience section.

Here’s the thing - in most cases, the hiring manager knows exactly what your responsibilities were. Let’s say you’re a sales manager, for example. Your responsibilities would be:

  • Reach out to potential clients over the phone or email.
  • Maintain relationships with existing company clients and upsell relevant products.
  • Tracking and reporting on leads in CRM.
  • Coincidently, this is exactly the same list of responsibilities for every sales manager. 90% of all other resumes probably mention just about the same thing.

So, to stand out, you want to focus on mentioning achievements in your resume instead. Or in simple terms, how exactly you helped the company grow, reach quarterly quotas, and so on.

  • Exceeded sales team KPIs by 30%+ for 3 months straight.
  • Generated over $24,000 in sales in 1 month.
  • Generated leads through cold-calling
  • Managed existing company clients

job search masterclass

Keep in mind, though, that in some fields, there aren’t that many achievements you can mention. Let’s say you work in a warehouse. Your day-to-day responsibilities probably involve:

  • Loading, unloading and setting up equipment on a daily basis.
  • Package finished product and get it ready for shipping.
  • Assist in opening and closing the warehouse.

In such fields, it’s pretty hard to distinguish yourself, so it’s totally OK to stick to responsibilities instead.

Tailor Your Resume to the Job

Tailoring is what sets an amazing resume apart from the “ OK ” one.

Hiring managers don’t want to know every single job you’ve worked, or every single skill that you possess.

They specifically want to know about your jobs, experiences, or skills that are somehow related to the role you’re applying for .

For example, if you’re applying for a job doing Google Ads , you don’t really need to talk about your SEO internship from 8 years ago.

By focusing your resume on whatever is important for a given role, you’re a LOT more likely to stand out and catch the hiring manager’s attention!

So, let’s cover a simple example of how to do this. Let’s say that after reading the following job ad for the position of a digital marketer, you discover that the most critical requirements for the job are:

  • 5+ years of experience in online marketing
  • Social media marketing experience, with good knowledge of Facebook advertising
  • B.A. in Marketing or Business Administration
  • Experience managing a 20,000 USD monthly advertising budget on Facebook

how to tailor your resume to the job ad

Now, to tailor your resume to these requirements, simply mention each in your resume, as long as you have the relevant achievements and qualifications!

For example, you can use: 

  • Your resume summary to mention your years of experience, 
  • Your achievements in previous jobs to prove you’ve got social media marketing experience 
  • Your education section to let the hiring manager know you have the degree they’re looking for 

Include the Right Amount of Work Experience

If you’ve got over a decade’s worth of work experience, you’re probably confused about how much of it you mention in your resume. After all, If you had to list everything you’ve ever done, you’d end up writing a mini-novella.

Or, on the other hand, if you’re a newcomer to the job market, you probably don’t have any experience and are wondering what you could even mention.

Here’s how much information you’d mention in your resume depending on your level of experience:

  • Job hunters with no experience - If you don’t have any experience, it might be a bit hard to fill in your work experience section. You can either keep it empty and focus on all the other sections, or fill it up with work experience in student organizations, non-profits, etc.
  • Entry-level candidates - List all the work you’ve done up to today. While some of it won’t be relevant, it will still show the hiring manager that you do have practical work experience.
  • Mid-level professionals - ONLY mention work experience relevant to the position you’re applying for.
  • Senior professionals - List up to 15 years of relevant work experience MAX. If your recent experience is as a CEO, no one cares about how you started your career as a junior marketing specialist.

Consider Applicant Tracking System (ATS) Software

Did you know that over 70% of resumes don’t even make it to the hiring manager ?

Most companies these days use applicant tracking software to evaluate hundreds of resumes instantaneously and filter out the ones that don’t fit certain criteria. For example, if the resume doesn’t mention a specific skill, or if the resume is not formatted the right way.

ats system statistic

Fortunately, there are some easy ways to make your resume ATS-friendly :

  • Check the job description for resume keywords. Tailoring your resume to the job also helps a lot with beating the ATS software. So, scan the job description carefully for hints and, whenever you find keywords related to your responsibilities and achievements, make sure to include them in your work experience section. 
  • Don’t make your resume longer than two pages. Sometimes, for whatever reason, employers set a limit on how long a resume should be. Meaning, if your resume is longer than one page, it might get automatically disqualified.
  • Always use an active voice when describing your achievements. Passive voice is vague and unclear. Make sure to use active voice as much as possible when adding bullet points under your job entries (e.g. “managed a team of ten people” instead of “a team of ten people was managed by me”). 
  • Take advantage of action verbs and power words . Instead of starting each of your sentences with “was responsible for,” make your work experience impactful by taking advantage of words that can grab attention (e.g. spearheaded or facilitated). 

Want to make sure your resume formatting passes the ATS test? Choose one of our ATS-friendly resume templates and you’ll be good to go! 

#5. List Your Education

The next section we’re going to cover is your education . Let’s start with the basics - how to format the education section & what to mention there. Then, we’ll move on to tips & tricks that’ll help you stand out…

  • Program Name. E.g.: “B.A. in Business Administration”
  • University Name. E.g.: “New York State University”
  • Years Attended. E.g.: “08/2008 - 06/2012”
  • (Optional) GPA. E.g.: “3.9 GPA”
  • (Optional) Honors. E.g.: Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude, Summa Cum Laude.
  • (Optional) Academic achievements. Any interesting papers you’ve written, courses you’ve excelled in, etc.
  • (Optional) Minor. “Minor in Psychology”

Here's an example:

education on resume

  • If you don’t have any work experience, mention your education section first.
  • Mention your latest educational entry on top.
  • If you have a university degree, don’t mention your high school at all.
  • ONLY mention GPA if you had a very impressive academic career (3.5 GPA plus).

#6. Emphasize Your Know-How with the Skills Section

Another must-have section in your resume is the skills section. Here, you want to mention all your know-how that makes you the perfect candidate for the job.

There are two types of skills you can include when writing your resume:

  • Hard Skills (Measurable abilities). This can be anything from coding in Python to knowing how to cook Thai cuisine.
  • Soft Skills (Personal skills). These are a mix of social skills, communication skills , personal traits, career attributes, and so on. Leadership, critical thinking, time management , and organization , just to name a few.

A good resume should cover both.

How to List Skills in Your Resume

Regarding how to list skills on your resume, there are three essential steps to follow:

Step #1 - List Hard Skills with Experience Levels. For each hard skill you list, you want to mention your proficiency level:

How to List Skills in Your Resume

Here’s how you can categorize your hard skills:

  • Beginner - You have some experience with the skill, whether it’s from some entry-level practice or classroom education.
  • Intermediate - You’ve used the skill in a work environment with a good level of understanding.
  • Advanced - You’re the go-to person for the skill in your office. You can coach other employees, and understand the skill on a high level.
  • Expert - You’ve applied this skill in more than a handful of different projects & organizations. You’re the go-to person for advice about the skill, not just in your office, but even amongst some of the best professionals in your field.

Make sure to NEVER lie about your skill levels. Otherwise, it’s going to be pretty awkward both for you and your employer.

Step #2 - Tailor Your Skills to the Job. You might have some awesome skills, but probably not all of them will come handy for the job. For example, it’s awesome that you know how to cook, but would you really need it at your new job as an accountant? Exactly!

To tailor your skills to the job, take a look at the job ad and list 2-3 essential skills required for the job.

Qualifications:

  • University Degree
  • Tech-savvy, with some background in CMS systems such as WordPress
  • Thrives in a stressful environment & manages to juggle multiple tasks and deadlines
  • Organizational and time management skills
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Self-reliant, with the ability to manage their own work
  • Can-do attitude and an outside-the-box thinker
  • Proficient in Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Keynote and Pages
  • Basic understanding of Office software - Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Outlook

As you can see, the must-have skills here are Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Keynote and Pages. A good-to-have is WordPress. You can also mention Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Outlook, but it’s pretty much assumed that you know how to use them, as they’re required for most office jobs.

If you’re qualified, make sure to mention all relevant skills with respective proficiency levels in your “Hard Skills” section. 

Step #3 - Include Some Transferable Skills . These are the type of skills that are useful for almost any job out there. They are both soft skills (leadership, teamwork, critical thinking, etc.) and hard skills (Excel, Powerpoint, Photoshop, writing, etc.). Whatever job you’re applying to, chances are, these skills will in one way or another come in handy, so feel free to include them, even if they’re not specifically required for the position.

Not sure which skills to mention for your field? It might be one of these 100+ essential skills to put on any resume!

#7. Include Other Important Resume Sections

other important resume sections

The sections we’ve covered so far are must-haves for any resume. They’re the bread-and-butter for any job application, and if you get them right, you’ll land any job you apply to.

The following optional sections, though, can also give your resume a boost!

Are you bi-lingual? Or better, multi-lingual? You should ALWAYS mention that on your resume!

Even if the position doesn’t require you to know the specific language, it can still come in handy at some point. At the end of the day, it’s always better to know more languages than less.

To list languages in your resume , simply write them down and assign them the appropriate level:

  • Proficient (Enough knowledge to pass by in a professional environment)
  • Intermediate

As a given, you should never lie about your language skills. You never know, your interviewer might turn out to be fluent in the language, or even be a native speaker!

Hobbies & Interests

Want to add some spice to your resume? The hobbies and interests section , while not a game-changer, can help show who YOU are as an individual. Who knows, maybe you and your interviewee have some hobbies in common!

If you end up with some extra space in your resume, don’t hesitate to show off your personality with a hobbies/interests section.

Volunteering Experience

If you’re the type of person who uses your free time helping others, while expecting nothing in return, chances are that you’re the type of employee who’s in it for more than just the money. It leaves the impression that you’re a devoted, loyal employee.

Several studies show that you can boost your chances of getting hired simply by listing your volunteering experience . This holds especially true if you’re a student with next to no work experience.

Certifications & Awards

Do you have any awards that make you stand out in your field? How about certifications from industry experts?

Whichever the case is, as long as it’s relevant for the position you’re applying for, feel free to add it to your resume.

Let’s say, for example, you’re a Microsoft Cloud Engineer. Assuming you specialize in Microsoft Technologies, you’d definitely want to include all essential certifications, such as the Azure Solutions Architect Expert one.

Publications 

Are you a freelance writer? Maybe a distinguished academic?

If you have any published works (online, or in an academic journal), you might want to include them in your resume. Make sure to include a URL, so the HR manager knows where to check your work!

Working on side projects can really show off your passion for your field. Whether they’re university class projects or part-time entrepreneurial endeavors, they’re both equally relevant.

Let’s say, for example, you worked on a mock software product as part of a competition in university. You went through every step of product creation, from ideation to creating a marketing strategy. 

You can mention the project in your resume and stand a better chance at landing that business internship!

Or on the other hand, maybe you manage an Etsy store, selling hand-made arts & crafts to customers online. Mention all of it! 

Hiring managers love employees who do cool work in their free time.

Perfecting Your Resume - FREE Checklist

Already done with your resume? Interested in seeing how it holds up? Go through our checklist for perfecting your resume and see where you stand!

professional resume writing checklist

If you ☑’d all the points? Congrats! You’ve mastered all there is to know about how to write a resume, and you’re good-to-go to move on with your job search! If you missed some points, though, just go through your resume one more time and perfect it as much as possible.

Wondering how to write a CV instead of a resume? Check out our step-by-step guide on how to write a CV (31+ examples included)!

5+ Effective Resume Examples for Different Jobs

Knowing how to write a resume is one thing, actually creating a resume that stands out is something else entirely. Without inspiration, even top career experts might stumble on a roadblock or two.

Check out the following effective resume examples for different job positions to get a better sense of what a good resume looks like...

#1. Architect Resume Example 

Architect Resume Example

#2. Data Analyst Resume Example

Data Analyst Resume Example

#3. Web Developer Resume Example

Web Developer Resume Example

#4. Remote Job Resume Example

Remote Job Resume Example

#5. Sales Associate Resume Example

Sales Associate Resume Example

#6. Receptionist Resume Example

Receptionist Resume Example

Want to see more examples? Check out our compilation of 80+ resume examples for different fields.

  • Administrative Assistant Resume
  • Bartender Resume
  • DevOps Engineer Resume
  • Executive Assistant Resume
  • Flight Attendant Resume
  • Graphic Designer Resume
  • Paralegal Resume
  • Pharmacist Resume
  • Recruiter Resume
  • Supervisor Resume

5+ Resume Templates for Different Industries

#1. traditional resume template.

Traditional Resume Template

Good for traditional industries like finance, banking, manufacturing, etc. 

#2. Modern Resume Template

Modern Resume Template

Good for both contemporary and forward-looking industries, including entrepreneurship, Medical Technology, engineering , etc. 

#3. Creative Resume Template

Creative Resume Template

Good for creative industries, including arts, design, architecture, and the sorts. 

#4. Minimalistic Resume Template

Minimalistic Resume Template

Good for experienced professionals in basically any industry who want to let their achievements do the talking. 

#5. IT Resume Template

IT-resume-template

Good for any IT-related profession. 

#6. Tech Resume Template

Tech Resume Template

Good for the tech industry and everything it encompasses.

Next Steps After Your Resume

Now that we’ve covered everything you need to know about how to create a resume, let’s talk about cover letters and interviews. 

After all, your resume is only the first step in your job search. To really land that job you deserve, you also need to craft a killer cover letter, and ace that upcoming interview. 

How to Write a Convincing Cover Letter

Every job application consists of 2 parts - the resume and the cover letter. Now that we’ve covered the first, let’s briefly explain the latter.

Most job-seekers flinch when they hear that they have to write a cover letter. What do you even mention in a cover letter, anyway? If you were good at writing cover letters, you’d be applying for a writing job!

In reality, though, writing a cover letter is pretty simple, if you know its purpose.

You should think of a cover letter as a direct message to the hiring manager. You get to briefly explain why you’re such an awesome fit for the position. When we put it that way, it doesn’t sound as hard, does it?

Here’s a format you could follow:

  • Start by introducing yourself (and leave an impression) - As a start, give a brief run-down on your work experience and mention why you’re interested in working for the company you’re applying for. You can also mention 1-2 of your top professional achievements to leave a good first impression.
  • Explain how you’d excel at the job - Identify the top three requirements in the job ad. Then, dedicate one paragraph to explaining how you fulfill each requirement. So for example, if the requirement is “Facebook Advertising Experience,” mention how you have done Facebook ads in the past and how you’ve excelled at it.
  • Conclude by expressing gratitude - Thank the hiring manager for reading your cover letter and make a call to action. For example, “If you’d like to know more about my experience with Project XYZ, I’d love to chat!”

All clear? Just in case, you can also check out a real-life example below:

How to Write a Convincing Cover Letter

Does writing a cover letter still seem a bit complicated? Doesn't have to be. Our guides on cover letter tips and common cover letter mistakes will take your cover letter to the next level.

How to Ace Your Next Interview

You’ve perfected both your resume & cover letter. Now, it’s time for the next (and final) step - the dreaded job interview.

Whether you’re an extrovert or an introvert, you probably hate the interviewing process. After all, sitting there while someone’s prodding into your past experiences and judging the hell out of you isn’t the most fun experience.

Did you know, though, that most interviewers ask the same questions? Yep - all you have to do is learn how to answer some of the most common interview questions, and you’ll be an interview away from landing your dream job!

Want to learn more? Check out our complete guide to Job Interview Questions and Answers .

Frequently Asked Questions on How to Make a Resume

Do you still have some questions about making a resume? Check out the FAQ below!

1. What does a good resume look like in 2023?

For your resume to look good in 2023, make sure it’s organized and clean, and isn’t longer than one page. Furthermore, be sure to include information that adds value to your application - so, leave out the redundancies and focus on your work experience, skills that you can prove, and on listing as many achievements as possible. 

If you’re using a template, choose based on your industry. Conservative industries require more traditional resume templates, but if you’re into arts, design, architecture, marketing, etc., you can go for a more creative resume template. 

Last but not least - remote work is big in 2023, so if that’s what you’re seeking, then consider creating a remote job resume . 

2. How do you make a resume in Word?

The best way to create a resume in Word is to use a pre-customized Microsoft Word template. To access them, you should: 

  • Open MS Word
  • Click “ file ” from the menu bar 
  • Type resume templates in the search bar 

That said , Word resume templates are generic , hard to personalize , and overall not very standoffish. Want a template that looks good AND is extremely easy to make? Check out ours!  

3. How do I write a resume for my first job?

If you’re writing your first resume for an entry-level position, the hiring manager won’t expect you to have any work experience. However, you can make up for your lack of experience with your skills and academic achievements. 

For example, you can take advantage of extracurricular activities , internships , volunteering experience, and other such experiences.

As such, for your first job, you should include a resume objective to your resume, emphasize your education, and replace your work experience section with one of the following: internships, volunteering, independent projects, etc.

4. How to make a resume on Google Docs?

The easiest way to make a resume on Google Docs is to choose one of their templates and fill it in on the go. All you have to do is go to your Google Drive’s template gallery, choose your favorite template, fill in your information, and voila - your Google Docs resume is ready to go! 

That said, Google Docs templates are not the most user-friendly choice. You don’t have much flexibility with the layout and formatting is not their strong point. You tweak a section to the slightest, and the whole thing gets messed up. 

If you want an easier option, check out our resume builder !

5. What kind of resume do employers prefer?

Typically, employers prefer one-page-long resumes that follow the reverse chronological format. 

Hiring managers receive hundreds of resumes every day, so they don't have the time to read 3-page resumes.

Meanwhile, the reverse chronological format is the most popular because it draws attention to your most recent jobs and professional achievements, which is the #1 most important thing hiring managers look at when evaluating a resume.

6. How many jobs should you put on your resume? 

You should only include relevant job positions on your resume.  

This means that your work experience section should be tailored to the job you are applying for. If you’ve worked five different jobs and they can all add value to your current application, then you should include all five. 

If, on the other hand, you’re applying for, say, a customer service position and some of your past jobs have 

to do with customer service, your resume can probably do without them. 

7. Should I put my address on my resume? 

You can put your location (city, state, or country) on your resume, but you don’t need to put your entire physical address. 

Putting a physical address on a resume was the norm back when companies would contact you via mail. In today’s world, everyone communicates via email, which is why adding a correct and professional email address to your contact information section is far more important than putting your physical address. 

So, just include your location or – if you’re a remote worker – specify you prefer to work remotely by writing “working remotely from [location].”

8. What information should I leave out of my resume?

You shouldn’t include your birthday or your headshot on your resume. 

If you have plenty of achievements to list under your work experience, then you can leave your basic work responsibilities out of your resume, as well. 

In your education section, you should only include your highest and most recent degree. So, if you hold a Ph.D., you can list that and your Masters degree and leave your Bachelor’s degree and high school diploma out. 

Finally, leave out any skills that are not relevant to the job you’re applying for.

And let’s wrap it all up!

If you’ve followed all of our advice until now, congrats! You’re probably an expert on how to make a resume.

To wrap it all up, let’s brush up on some of the most important lessons we’ve learned so far...

  • Use the right resume builder. You don’t want to mess around with formatting for hours before even starting to work on your resume!
  • Focus on achievements. Mention your achievements instead of responsibilities, so that you stand out from all the other applicants.
  • Include the must-have sections. That is, resume summary, work experience, education, and skills.
  • Tailor for the job. Everything listed on your resume should be relevant for the job you’re applying for.
  • Perfect your cover letter. It’s as important as your resume, so make sure you pay as much attention to it!

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https://www.wsj.com/articles/18-resume-writing-tips-to-get-you-noticed-11605107446

18 Résumé Writing Tips to Help You Stand Out

Updated May 11, 2021 2:15 pm ET

help in a resume

  • A résumé isn’t just a list of every job you’ve ever had. It should demonstrate your accomplishments.
  • Mirror language used in the job posting so your résumé isn’t discarded by an applicant tracking system.
  • Use a clean and simple format. 

1. Highlight your achievements in your résumé. 

A common mistake job seekers make is believing a résumé is a recap of your career, when in reality, it should convey what you have accomplished, says Christy Noel, a career expert and author of “Your Personal Career Coach.” 

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The resume process is simple! First, submit your existing resume or provide your career details. You’ll fill out an intake survey to provide your writer with accurate elements for your document. Then you’ll collaborate with a professional writer to craft a tailored resume . Finally, you’ll review and refine the draft to ensure it aligns with your career goals. Leaving you with a polished resume that showcases your strengths and maximizes your job search potential!

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IMAGES

  1. 10 Best Resume Tips for Every Step of the Resume Writing Process

    help in a resume

  2. RESUME HELP.pdf

    help in a resume

  3. Customer Service Resume Example 2022

    help in a resume

  4. How To Write My Skills In Resume

    help in a resume

  5. What Skills to Put on a Resume: List of Good Examples to Include

    help in a resume

  6. Resume Help.pdf

    help in a resume

VIDEO

  1. Correct your resume here

  2. How to Improve Your Resume

COMMENTS

  1. Make the Most of Your Free Basic Resume with These Tips

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